The steady rise of the first girls’ college established in Pindi after partition

Published November 25, 2018
The main entrance of Federal Government Postgraduate College for Women, Kashmir Road.
The main entrance of Federal Government Postgraduate College for Women, Kashmir Road.

The Federal Government Postgraduate College for Women on Kashmir Road, commonly referred to as C.B. College started as a small school run by the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) 66 years ago.

The foundation stone of the school was laid on Feb 26, 1952 by Gen Ayub Khan. It was the first girls’ college established in Rawalpindi cantonment after partition.

The institution was upgraded to an intermediate college in 1959 and assumed the status of a degree college in 1963. Postgraduate classes in English and Urdu were started in 1966.

Located in the heart of Rawalpindi cantonment, the institution has a good building and sprawling lawns. With the elevation of its status, the college has needed more classrooms and space.

As a primary school, the institute had a five-classroom building. The adjoining building of the boys’ primary school was also taken over when it was elevated to a high school.

The old Musa Block named after former Commander-in-Chief Gen Musa.
The old Musa Block named after former Commander-in-Chief Gen Musa.

A hall and some classrooms were added when the high school was upgraded to intermediate level and more classrooms and a canteen were added when degree classes were started.

Gen Mohammad Musa, the commander-in-chief in 1966, donated a piece of land adjacent to the building, which was not utilised. Since it came under the control of the Army Education Directorate in 1977, major construction work has been done in the college, which sprawls over 12 blocks.

The founding principal of the school was Salma Masood, the wife of eminent educationist Prof Khawaja Masood. The couple played a significant role in promoting education in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

The Cantonment Board College was nationalised in 1972 and it was renamed the Federal Government Postgraduate College for Women. It remained under the administrative control of the RCB between 1952 and 1972.

A hall where students are taught how to prepare their digital presentations. — Photos by Mohammad Asim
A hall where students are taught how to prepare their digital presentations. — Photos by Mohammad Asim

The institution has been the alma mater of many distinguished students including Dr Ayesha Jalal who is a history professor at Harvard University, renowned actor Nadia Khan, Pakistan’s representative to the UN Dr Maliha Lodhi, foreign secretary Tehmeena Janjua, Ambassador to Egypt Seema Naqvi, Ambassador to Mexico Zehra Akbari, Ambassador to Denmark Fouzia Abbas, Ambassador to Ireland Naghma Hashmi and Dr Sala Suleri who is an English professor at Yale.

“The college offers multiple opportunities of intellectual grooming and active learning with its congenial environment,” said the principal of the college, Prof Raana Arshad Qazi.

She said the college had been declared the best institution by the federal board for three consecutive years. She said the college initiated its four-year BS programme in 2018 in six disciplines.

“The college is striving to install a blend of traditional and modern educational standards in its students,” she said. However, she added that there was need for starting postgraduate classes in other disciplines as well.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

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